Cooke acquires Belgian shrimp processor Morubel

The Morubel processing facility located in Ostend, Belgium.

Blacks Harbor, New Brunswick, Canada-based Cooke Inc. on Tuesday, 9 August, acquired Belgium-based shrimp processor Morubel from investment group Bencis Capital Partners.

Bencis acquired Morubel in 2014, purchasing the company from the Holland-based Heiploeg Group. Two years later, Bencis acquired and soon after closed German seafood importer and wholesaler Ristic AG – moving some of its operations under Morubel. Later, in 2017, Bencis Capital Partners – which organized Belgium-based Morubel, German firm Ristic, Dutch company Telson, and Rainbow Export Processing in Costa Rica under the umbrella of Shore – restructured the organization to have Morubel and Ristic focus on European sales, with Morubel focusing on producing and packaging all of Shore’s frozen seafood.

Since that time, Morubel has focused on distributing products to retail and foodservice customers in Spain, Portugal, German, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, and France – providing a range of wild-caught species including Argentine red shrimp and squid and farmed species including black tiger prawns and mussels. The company’s 14,000-square-meter processing plant in Ostend, Belgium, has an annual production capacity of 18,000 metric tons of frozen seafood, Cooke said.

The cost of the purchase was not disclosed.

“Morubel’s focus on developing sustainable, new added-value products and continuously focusing on innovation was an attractive complement to our European seafood offerings,” Cooke Inc. CEO Glenn Cooke said. “We’re very excited to welcome Morubel’s 100 employees to Cooke. The plant staff, sales, and management are exceptional, and they have formed longstanding customer relationships by being a flexible and reliable supplier with consistently high-quality and short delivery times.”

Cooke has multiple operations in Europe, including Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, Northeast Nutrition Scotland, Cooke Aquaculture Spain, and more. Morubel CEO Dirk De Pandelaere said the sale is a good fit for the company and its future growth.

“Team Cooke had a strong presence this spring in Barcelona at Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global, the world’s largest seafood trade fair. The Morubel team welcomes the sale to Cooke – we’ve found an ideal alignment to enable our future growth,” Pandelaere said. “We see a lot of opportunities to expand our product line to sell additional Cooke products in European countries where Cooke is building its presence.” 

Photo courtesy of Cooke Inc. 


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